Health Lifestyle

Four Reasons to Exercise during Addiction Recovery


The abuse of drugs and alcohol can adversely impact a person’s health and wellbeing in numerous ways. By the time someone reaches a point where he becomes an addict, they’ve gotten a real beating not only emotionally and physically, but their social and financial life is hugely affected as well. That’s why exercise is basically a very integral part of the recovery process.

There is a host of benefits a recovering addict can accrue from an organized workout regimen, especially if working from transitional residences where one interacts with other addicts for better motivation and encouragement. Let’s have a look at four powerful benefits below:


  1. Helps in Treatment and Recovery

One of the most sought-after incentives of regular physical exercise when it comes to addiction is that it helps prevent relapse. By keeping yourself in daily movement, you can easily make your mind forget returning to drug and alcohol abuse. A recent study shows how aerobic exercise lowers the urge to fall back into substance abuse.

Another study surveying the impact of behavioral change on recovering alcoholics suggested that working out helps enhance abstinence from drinking by a considerable percentage. Rather than act as a distraction against cravings, as part of addiction therapy, exercise goes further to act as a replacement for the alcohol and drugs the recovering addict would otherwise be yearning for.



  1. Cost-Benefit Analysis

Working out brings another beneficial dimension to the Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) tool that’s used to determine both the short and long-term benefits of not using drugs. It’s essential to keep tabs on the progress against addiction because the behavior often waits in the wings and can derail things further given a chance. While this is quite a scary realization, incorporating CBA in the recovery process enhances it tremendously.

Looking at things in the short term, it may be easy to dismiss physical activity as a minor benefit in addiction recovery. But as an addict’s body adjusts and recalibrates itself to the new normal of life without drugs and alcohol, there are many changes to keep track of. For instance, an addict who had lost a lot of weight as a result of their addiction problem needs to know how much weight they’re gaining; however, gradual the process may be. That keeps them motivated to travel the entire journey of recovery. Still, while some changes like withdrawal effects may seem unbearable in the short-term, the outcome is very positive at the end.



  1. Physical & Emotional Control

Though often referred to as physical exercise, working out goes beyond the physical realm of our bodies. It highly involves a mindfulness aspect. For a recovering addict, this aspect of the mind brings in a lot of benefits if applied appropriately. It’s a powerful tool to especially control the anxiety that addicts feel because of withdrawal effects. For instance, pilates helps you to learn to maintain control over both the body and the mind. Naturally, physical activity leads to a positive alteration of a person’s brain chemistry.

Regular and dedicated exercise during treatment and recovery from addiction helps in the restoration of endorphins in the body system to natural levels. The endorphins released during a workout create a natural high feeling. By teaching themselves how to overcome doubts and build self-esteem, a recovering addict learns to build on their strength of mind. This helps to beat the many weak moments associated with the recovery process like relapse cravings.


  1. Relief from Stress & Negative Energy

The pressure of withdrawal effects can be overwhelming to an addict striving to recover. That often leads to lots of stress and emotional pressure so much so that the affected person feels like quitting the journey all the time. Exercising helps focus on the ultimate goal by relieving this pressure.

Working out has been proven to assuage both psychological and physical stress. Normally, tension will build up in our bodies when we engage ourselves in productive work and during daily interactions with people and situations. Add to that the stress of withdrawal effects for recovering addicts, and you’ll see why regular exercise is more critical for them compared to other people.

Just by moving your body and stretching your muscles to expend energy, this tension reduces. What’s more, this helps to get rid of negative energy and emotions in a much more beneficial way. Otherwise, that energy will find unhealthy methods of escaping that could even include relapsing back to drugs and alcohol.



So, with all these benefits, why not take up exercise as part of your addiction recovery process? A regular physical workout regime fosters enhanced sleep, rejuvenated energy, and general feelings of wellbeing. That’s a huge plus because it makes a recovering addict’s life more enjoyable and manageable. It makes the recovery process much more comfortable than it seems.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende